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Hyperbaric oxygen as an adjuvant for athletes
Ishii Y, Deie M, Adachi N, Yasunaga Y, Sharman P, Miyanaga Y, Ochi M.
Sports Med. 2005; 35(9):739-46.
There has recently been a resurgence in interest in hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) treatment in sports therapy, especially in Japan.
Oxygen naturally plays a crucial role in recovery from injury and physiological fatigue. By performing HBO treatment, more oxygen is dissolved in the plasma of the pulmonary vein via the alveolar, increasing the oxygen reaching the peripheral tissues. HBO treatment is therefore expected to improve recovery from injury and fatigue. HBO treatment has been reported to reduce post-injury swelling in animals, and in humans; swelling was also mitigated, but to a lesser extent.
Positive results have also been reported regarding tissue remodelling after injury, with injuries involving bones, muscles and ligaments showing improved recovery. Furthermore, HBO treatment has effectively increased recovery from fatigue. This was clearly seen at the Nagano Winter Olympics, where sports players experiencing fatigue were successfully treated, enabling the players to continue performing in the games.
Despite its potential, HBO treatment does have its risks. Increasing oxygen levels in tissues poses a risk to DNA through oxidative damage, which can lead to pathological changes in the CNS and the lungs. Regarding the operating of HBO systems, safer administration should be advised. Further research into HBO treatment is required if this therapy is to become more widespread.
It should become possible to tailor treatment to an individual’s condition in order to use HBO treatment efficiently.
How Can Hyperbaric Oxygen Contribute to Treatment?
J. Scott Delaney, MD; D. L. Montgomery, PhD
The Physician and Sportsmedicine - Vol 29 - No. 3 - March 2001
Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) is used in a sports medicine setting to reduce hypoxia and edema and appears to be particularly effective for treating crush injuries and acute traumatic peripheral ischemias.
When used clinically, HBO2 should be considered as an adjunctive therapy as soon as possible after injury diagnosis. Treatment pressures for acute traumatic peripheral ischemia range from 2.0 to 2.5 atmospheres absolute (ATA), with a minimum of 90 minutes for each treatment. Some professional and amateur athletes use HBO2 to aid endurance performance or to speed recovery from exercise-related fatigue; however, research does not yet support these uses. Clinicians and athletes should keep in mind that HBO2 is a medical treatment with associated risks.
Effects of hyperbaric oxygen on a human model of injury
Staples JR, Clement DB, Taunton JE, McKenzie DC
Am J Sports Med. 1999 Sep-Oct; 27(5):600-5.
To determine whether intermittent exposures to hyperbaric oxygen enhance recovery from delayed-onset muscle soreness of the quadriceps, we conducted a randomized, controlled, double-blinded, prospective study using 66 untrained men between the ages of 18 and 35 years.
After the induction of muscle soreness, these subjects were treated in a hyperbaric chamber over a 5-day period in two phases, with four groups (control, hyperbaric oxygen treatment, delayed treatment, and sham treatment) in the first phase; and three groups (3 days of treatment, 5 days of treatment, and sham treatment) in the second phase. The hyperbaric exposures involved 100% oxygen for 1 hour per day at 2.0 atm.
The sham treatments involved 21% oxygen for 1 hour per day at 1.2 atm. We monitored recovery using a leg dynamometer to test eccentric torque of the nondominant quadriceps muscle before and immediately after exercise and at 48 and 96 hours after exercise. Pain was tested daily using visual analog pain scales.
In phase 1 a significant difference in recovery of eccentric torque was noted in the treatment group compared with the other groups. In phase 2, the recovery of eccentric torque for the 5-day treatment group was significantly greater than for the sham group from immediately after exercise to 96 hours after exercise. The pain data did not differ significantly in any comparison in either phase.
The results suggest that treatment with hyperbaric oxygen may enhance recovery of eccentric torque of the quadriceps muscle from delayed-onset muscle soreness.